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Nutrition for a Healthier Dog


More than ever before, owners are paying more attention to what goes in their dogs’ food bowls.


The question of how and what a dog should be fed is often heatedly debated – premium kibble versus “look-alike” brands from wholesale clubs versus grocery store brands, raw, home-cooked, and fresh frozen. Should supplements be used, or is the food “complete and balanced”, as the labels state? Should grains be fed? Should bones be whole or ground?


What about herbal supplements, joint supplements, vitamins, and probiotics? What about the special needs of the performance dog, older dog, or growing puppy?


For the show and competition dog, we are especially concerned that the diet supports peak physical and mental condition, as well as overall health.


Health needs to be earned!

More Cure Help Healthy Living Articles


The answers to these questions are obviously complex. There are many ways to meet a dog’s nutritional needs. Many dogs have sensitive digestive systems, food intolerances, or other health concerns. The senior dog and the family dog who is not very active need good nutrition without extra calories that lead to weight gain. A sound nutritional program will enable all of these dogs live to long and healthy lives.


Dog Dandruff Treatments - tips form the experts at Dog Allergy Treatments!


Whatever feeding plan is used, it must fit in the daily routine of the owner. The food chosen must be readily available, and in the case of the competition dog, be able to be easily fed on the road. The food must meet the nutritional needs of the individual dog, and be fed in a way to not provide excessive or deficient amounts of key nutrients. All foods should be clean and fresh, especially kibble that is naturally preserved with tocopherols and or citric acid. Natural preservatives are preferred to chemical preservatives such as BHA or BHT, but naturally preserved food that is stored too long may become rancid or moldy, as well as losing its nutritional value.


The vast majority of dogs in this country, whether family companions or competition/working dogs, are fed some type of commercial food. For the purposes of this article, commercial food will be divided into three categories: standard or grocery store foods, premium or pet store foods, and super-premium foods. The best way to understand the differences in these foods is to review the ingredients of a representative of each food category. (Food examples were chosen based on nationwide advertising and availability.)


Top 5 ingredients of common dog foods

Standard/Grocery Store Food
Kibbles ‘n Bits®

Soybean meal
Ground wheat
Beef & bone meal
Animal fat*


Premium/Pet Store Food
Nutro Max Adult®

Chicken Meal
Wheat Flour
Ground Whole Wheat
Rice Bran

Poultry Fat**

Super-Premium Food
Wellness Super5 Chicken®

Deboned Chicken
Ground Barley
Rye Flour
Menhaden Fish Meal

*BHA and citric acid used as preservatives

**Preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E


As you can see from these examples, the proportion of meat in the top 5 ingredients (listed in order of amount, i.e. the first ingredient is present in the largest amount) is small in the standard grocery store food. The meat source, beef and bone meal, is defined as a rendered product made from beef parts which are not suitable for human consumption. Rendering is the process by which waste products are broken down to be used in, among other things, dog food. Rendering companies typically collect waste from slaughterhouses, dead livestock, restaurant and grocery store wastes, and in some areas, euthanized animals (livestock and in some areas, pets).


The collected animals and waste are then sprayed or injected with carbolic acid or similar chemicals to break down the proteins. This is followed by grinding and cooking. Fat is separated out, and the remaining material is dried to produce meal. What do you think the nutritional quality of this meat and bone meal is?The premium quality food lists chicken meal as the first ingredient. While it is a more specific type of meal, and likely of higher quality, it is still a rendered product. Also, two varieties of wheat are listed, a technique known as “splitting” in labeling jargon. It cannot be determined from the label whether the food contains more chicken meal or wheat. A big advantage the premium food offers is the use of tocopherols for preservation of the chicken fat, rather than the suspected carcinogen BHA.


The super-premium food protein source is whole, unrendered meat, meaning muscle with or without organ meat and associated structures. This product contains fish meal as the fifth ingredient, which is defined as “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and/or fish cuttings, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.” The super-premium food also contains three types of grains, of types not commonly found in most dog foods. With wheat implicated in many food allergies and intolerances, it is advantageous to use other grains if possible, even if they cost more than wheat or corn.


After learning what is really in commercial dog foods, you may be wondering what you have been putting in your best friend’s bowl! You thought you were getting the best food possible when you paid for an expensive brand, only to find out it is mostly grains. You are probably wondering if you have used a food that contains rendered euthanized animals, including dogs and cats. Two studies performed by the US Food & Drug Administration demonstrated the presence of the euthanasia drug sodium pentobarbital in many commercial dog foods, including premium brands. (Read about these studies in Foods Pets Die For, by Ann Martin) You may be considering the possibility that some of your dog’s health issues could be food related. Most of all, you are probably wondering what commercial foods can meet your dog’s nutritional needs in a wholesome way.


Fortunately, as more people learn about commercial foods, the demand for super-premium quality dog foods has increased, and more options are available today than ever before. It is now possible to find non-meal protein sources, grain free foods, and foods that use all human grade ingredients. With some research and careful label reading, you can find foods you can be comfortable feeding. With some companies offering delivery to your home, getting the highest quality food available has become easier, regardless of your location.


In response to learning what may be contained in dog food, many owners have turned to home-prepared diets. Feeding so-called “natural” diets is becoming commonplace in the world of the canine competition. Advocates of natural diets are often very enthusiastic about the merits of feeding real food to their dogs. Commonly cited benefits of a natural diet include reduction of allergies, better coats, stronger immune systems, and fewer gastrointestinal problems.


There are many feeding plans that fall under the general description of a “natural” diet. Perhaps the best known is the “Bones And Raw Food” diet designed by Dr. Ian Billinghurst. The core of this plan is the raw meaty bone, most commonly poultry necks, backs, and wings. Other pioneers of natural feeding such as Wendy Volhard and Dr. Kerry Brown advocate use of raw meats and vegetables, as well as a grain/cereal meal. Their feeding plan is one of the few that has been shown to meet or exceed the minimum daily requirement of all known nutrients, and was tested on dogs in all life stages for 12 years before being published. Many other feeding plans exist, and incorporate concepts from the Volhard and Billinghurst diets. Several companies are producing premixes and meats designed for inclusion in these plans, eliminating some of the work involved in feeding a natural diet. Finding recipes for feeding plans has never been easier, as there are many books, seminars, and internet resources available.


Although it is becoming easier to feed a natural diet, it can still be time consuming and require extra work. It requires an investment of time to become educated about your dog’s nutritional needs. You must find a source for clean and fresh meats and other ingredients, and have the freezer space to store them. Depending on the diet plan you choose, you may need to grind or blanch vegetables or prepare cereal meals. You will also need to monitor your dog’s health with regular veterinary check-ups and blood testing.


Many veterinarians and owners object to a natural diet. They are concerned that the raw meat may be contaminated with bacteria and cause infection in dogs or people, and that raw bones may perforate the digestive tract. They are worried that the diet is not completely balanced, as a kibble meal would be. Since the advent of commercial dog foods, we have been lectured about the evils of giving our dogs “human” food, as that would unbalance the diet. How can we possibly consider feeding a dog a completely “human” food diet, and how can it supply all the nutrition the dog needs?


Raw meats inevitably contain a large bacterial load. These bacteria can be dangerous to humans, so practicing good food hygiene is important, whether preparing your dinner or your dog’s. However, a dog’s digestive system is designed to handle bacteria that would be life threatening to a person. Bacteria are everywhere. If he couldn’t handle large bacterial loads, your dog would surely die from chewing on sticks, licking his feet after walking in dirty areas, or scavenging discarded foods from the trashcan.


The risk that raw bones may perforate the digestive tract is small, but theoretically possible. Cooked bones are far more likely to splinter, and do pose a real risk. Appropriately sized raw bones, especially non-weight bearing bones such as poultry necks, can be thoroughly chewed by most dogs and tend to be crushed by chewing. Large bones such as beef thigh bone (femur) are large enough to not be splintered. You may have seen them sold in pet stores, plain or coated with a flavoring. Of course any dog that is an enthusiastic chewer should be supervised while chewing meaty bones.


The dog food industry has long fostered the belief that each meal we feed our dogs must be completely balanced. Meeting your dog’s nutritional needs for the basic nutrients – protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals – is the very definition of a complete diet. However, the body possesses the ability to store some nutrients, a “buffer”, making it unnecessary to eat a 24-hour supply of every nutrient every day. In fact, the Volhard diet is fed in 7 days cycles, taking advantage of the body’s ability to store nutrients and allowing the digestive system to rest one day of the cycle. Do you eat a perfectly balanced diet each day?


Deciding what to feed your dog is not a simple decision. The more you learn about commercial foods, the more selective you will become. Fortunately, more high quality kibble foods, which approach the quality of well-managed natural diets, are readily available. Premixes that make feeding and traveling with a natural diet easier are also available. Feeding a natural diet is becoming more common and accepted, especially among owners of competition dogs. Whether you choose to feed your dog fresh or kibbled food, you have several excellent feeding plans to choose from.


Dr. Laurie S. Coger, a Certified Veterinary Chiropractitioner, and Certified Reiki Practitioner, brings a lifetime of experience in equine and canine competition to her work. A graduate of Cornell University's Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture & Life Sciences, she has a broadly based scientific education, with a special interest in nutrition. She is a contributing editor for The Australian Shepherd Journal, a national breed magazine, and a frequent speaker for various animal interest groups. Books discussing her approach to natural dog care and caring for the competition dog are underway.


No # 1 for Nutrition

When we think about our health ONE vital nutrient often fails to come to mind, and it’s one so important that we cannot exist without it. How can this be? So what is it? Is it Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, or what? Is it something new that we don’t really know about yet? Not at all. It is one vital nutrient that is so overlooked that often we cannot tell when we need it.

A lack of water is considered by some researchers to be the major cause of daytime fatigue.

Although it has been separated from ‘nutrition’ by terminology, it is never ever possible to do without it. Its value (although it is beyond price) is ignored and seen as something too commonplace to worry about. And that’s a huge problem!

It is not particularly nutritious but try going without it! At your own peril!

It fills our bodies, down the smallest cells and it’s required for virtually every bodily function.



Besides the fact that our bodies are mostly water, and that water is needed for nearly every bodily process, some amazing things are being learned about water Water as a means to reduce tiredness, and increase concentration:


Water as a dieter’s best friend: A glass of water is recommended by many diets programs to shut down ‘hunger pangs.’ Water as a ‘wonder drug’: Some researchers have found evidence that indicates drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day can significantly ease back and joint pain. Other research indicates that drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.


Sadly it is estimated that people in the developed world are no longer able to recognize ‘feeling thirsty’. Their response to ‘that feeling’ is to have something to eat. If you’re not sure if it’s ‘hunger’ or ‘thirst’ - Re-educate yourself by reaching for a glass of water first time, every time. Slowly drink the water, and wait 5 minutes. If you still feel hungry it may be time to eat, but you’re just as likely to find that your body wanted water in the first place and that you don’t need to eat yet. Give your body what it really needs! For optimum nutrition – Just add water.


Cheryl North ( is an educator with diverse interests in Nutrition and Health



As always, before you attempt to self medicate or try a new health regimen or program we suggest you retain the services of a qualified health care professional.


Somatic Nutrition


We are Physical Matter and have a physical body: What we eat and drink, we become physically.
We are Emotion and have an emotional body:
What we feel and sense, we are emotionally
We are Mind and have a mental body:
What we think and dwell upon, we are mentally.

Dr. Randolph Stone

Nutrition is not often mentioned in the field of somatic’s. The emphasis of somatic work tends to the energetic, psychological or structural aspects of the body. Somatic’s is defined as “the living body in it’s wholeness,” or mind, body, and spirit in unity. A holistic view of the human organism must include diet and it’s effect for maximizing our human potential.

I associate the nutritional aspect of somatic work with the Third chakra.

The third chakra relates to the element of Fire and the sense of Vision. The third chakra is found at the solar plexus, just beneath the sternum. Its color is yellow and with the fire element affects metabolism. The solar plexus chakra is sometimes called our seat of personal power. It’s about self-assertion, courage or cowardice (in astrology, Leo, the lion is a fire sign). It relates to the use or abuse of power. I think a constant theme of this century is the balancing of this ferocious power of fire. Thomas Edison’s harnessing electricity for the light bulb and Laser light used for surgery are beneficial examples. The ovens of Auschwitz, the atomic mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, the clouds of smoke over the desert of Kuwait and the burning of the rain-forests are examples of the extreme abuse of power this century has seen.


Our sense of vision is also out of balance with our other senses. Aries, another fire sign, rules the eyes (He is also the Roman god of war). We are a visually stimulated people. Carolyn Myss states that 80 % of our daily decisions are visually motivated. Terence Mckenna, in his lecture series History Ends in Green, suggests an interesting theory for this preference. Prehistoric people were nomads that followed the wild herds of cattle across the savannas. One of the foods found near herds of cattle are the hallucinogenic mushrooms that grow in their feces. Mckenna asserts that prehistoric peoples often ate the mushrooms; which stimulated the visual centers of the cerebral cortex. This expanded visual acuity assisted in hand-eye coordination; which in turn helped the hunters in killing their game. The mushrooms helped the evolution of the species with better nutrition and by strengthening the visual centers. As the human race has become domesticated we have maintained our dependence on visual skills. We, now, rely less on our sense of smell and hearing and more on our visual senses.


As I begin my discussion on nutrition let me remind you of the quote by Carols Chastened:

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone, one question…. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.


There are many opposing opinions on how, what and why to eat. You need only go to the book or health food store to discern that. When creating an eating program you must rely on your own mind and heart to find the balance that works for you…and you alone. I like the example of Mahatma Gandhi. He experimented with diet until the time he died. He believed that your body, including how you nourish it, should be your laboratory for your experiments in self-realization.


One of the primary ways to maximize the natural vitality, prana or chi of your life is the consumption of “Live Foods.” Eating live foods utilizes the natural energy of enzymes. Ann Wigmore, founder of the Hippocrates Institute says, “ You are alive only because thousands of enzymes make it possible. Every breath you take, thought you think, or sentence you read, is a result of thousands of complex enzyme systems and there functions operating simultaneously…They are the active construction and demolition teams that work 24 hours a day to maintain health and balance in your body.” Under a microscope an enzyme appears to be a protein. In reality protein is not the active agent of enzymes, but merely the material which stores the life energy of enzymes, just as a battery stores energy to light a flashlight.


Technically enzymes are globular proteins that promote specific chemical reactions within the cell. There are three distinct types of enzymes. Metabolic enzymes, which run our bodies; digestive enzymes, which digest our foods; and food enzymes from raw food which begin digestion. No mineral, vitamin, or hormone can do any work without them. Enzymes are found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nut and grains. Sprouted grains are the most potent with enzymatic life force as they contain all the energy a plant will need to thrive. Each raw food has its own hermetic seal, such as a peel, skin or shell, which protects the fragile enzymes. When the seal is broken the enzymes begin to immediately break.


All cooked or processed foods are considered de-natured which means that all the enzymes are dead. There may be vitamins or minerals left for absorption, but there is no longer any life force left. The average American diet is deficient in enzymes. A diet of “dead” foods means that our own bodies must operate on an imbalance of declining enzyme levels. Decreased enzyme levels lead to poor digestion, illness and disease. That’s why eating a diet rich in raw foods and high in enzymes is vital. You absorb the life force of the plants you eat to maintain your own vitality.


The third chakra is the energetic correlation to the endocrine system’s production of insulin. Insulin affects metabolism by its conversion of sugars into available energy for the body. The Islet’s of Langerhan, which are found in the pancreas, produce insulin. Much has been made lately about the affects of complex carbohydrates and their effects on diet. The dietetic emphasis over the past decade has been on a low fat, low protein diet with a higher percentage of complex carbohydrates. Recent studies show that complex carbohydrates like pasta, bread, potatoes, peas and bananas create a surplus imbalance of insulin in the blood stream.


This insulin imbalance adversely affects the body by im-balancing the rest of the hormonal system. Surplus insulin also distorts energy levels and directs the body to store extra glucose as fat rather than burn it for fuel. Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Zone, has done excellent research on balancing the insulin/hormonal system through food. He says, “Food is far more important than just something you eat for pleasure or to appease your hunger. Rather, it is a potent drug that you’ll take for the rest of your life. Once food is broken down into its basic components (glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids) and sent into the bloodstream, it has a more powerful impact on your body—and your health—than any drug your doctor could ever prescribe.”


Drinking coffee is another food factor that imbalances the hormonal system. Uptown Health & Spirit recently printed a report from a Duke University Medical Center study of 72 habitual coffee drinkers. Participants produced more adrenaline and noradrenalin on days they drank coffee than days when they abstained. The study states, “People who drink four to five cups of coffee throughout the morning have slightly elevated blood pressure and higher levels of stress hormones all day into the evening, creating a scenario in which the body acts like it is continually under stress.” James Lane, associate research professor of psychiatry at Duke says, “If you combine the effects of real stress with the artificial boost in stress from caffeine, then you have compounded the effects considerably.


The increase in blood pressure and stress hormones is elevated till bedtime even if coffee consumption stops at 1 p.m..”

Drinking sufficient water is another component of maintaining maximum health. Water is the single most abundant substance in your body: 70 to 90% of each cell’s weight is water. The average adult loses 2500 ml, or 76 ounces, of water each day through urination, feces, sweat and respiration. Your daily intake of water must equal your daily output. You must drink approximately 45 ounces of water. The balance of your daily requirement comes from eating moist foods and the metabolism of various nutrients within the body. It is important to drink pure, filtered water for the body’s use. Most public drinking water carries contaminants, heavy metals, and unhealthy bacteria. It is important to refrain from drinking much liquid during meals. The extra fluid decreases the effect of the digestive enzymes and hydrocloric acid of the stomach. It is also suggested to never take iced drinks during meals as the stomach works at !05 degrees F. The cold liquid lowers the temperature and slows digestion.


Personally, eating is the one area of somatic work that poses the most difficulty for me. Body weight and image is something I’ve struggled with as long as I can remember. I use the metaphor of meditation as my guide for eating. In meditation I know to focus on the breath. As human beings we loose focus and begin to think, and think, and think. The skill of meditation is to come back to the breath. Come back over and over again. Then the skill becomes a pattern and eventually a way of life. There are times when my eating program is better than others. I just regain my focus and come back to the eating principals that I know deliver the most benefit to me.



The Hindi Squat—Dr. Stone writes, “This posture is ideal for the release of gases, constipation, excessive abdominal fat, and toning the walls of the abdomen by the muscular exertion and squeezing of the thighs.” Relax, standing straight with the feet about hip’s width apart (or a little more for comfort). Relax the neck and allow the chin to gently drop to the chest. Slowly let gravity pull your head down towards the floor, one vertebra at a time. When you are bent over at the waist, gently rock front to back and side to side to relax the shoulders and neck. Pause and take a deep breath.


Bend the knees and slowly drop into a squat. The feet should remain flat on the floor, pointing forwards for the best results. If this is not possible, you may use a small pillow under the heels until you master this posture. Bring your elbows to the inside of the knees. Bring your hands together in prayer position over the heart. The pressure on the knees will stretch them out. Rock gently from front and back and side to side. Relax and take a deep breath.


To stand back up, place your hands upon your knees. Get a sense of your tailbone pointing backwards. Press the tailbone up first as you come to standing. Pause, take a deep breath and notice the sensations of your body. The Fire Breath—Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor. The spine is straight, the body relaxed. This breath is done through both nostrils. One breath, or round, is a relaxed inhalation with a forced exhalation. A slow pace is 60 rounds per minute; a moderate pace is 120 rounds a minute; a rapid pace is 240 rounds a minute. If you are a beginner, stay with a slow breath. This breath over oxygenates the body, reduces carbon dioxide and encourages energy flow through the chakras. This is a very invigorating breath.


Aromatherapy Bath—

1 cup Dead Sea mineral salts
1 cup baking soda
½ cup apple cider vinegar
20 drops total of any of these essential oils: juniper, vetiver, rosemary, sage, lemon, clove, peppermint, spearmints.

All of these oils support self-esteem and self-confidence. They inspire making decisions and taking action. A word of caution: don’t use rosemary, peppermint or spearmint before bed as they are energizing oils.


Alan Davidson is the co-author of Healing the Heart of the World with Prince Charles, Carolyn Myss, John Gray, and Neal Donald Walsch. Alan, a Registered Massage Therapist since 1988, is the owner and director of Essential Touch Therapies in Houston, Texas. He has a B.S. from University of Houston, Downtown, with an emphasis on psychology, sociology, philosophy, and religion. Alan is fascinated with the intersection of bodywork, psychology, ritual, and spiritual practice. Having taught massage, meditation, yoga, and human transformation since 1990 he is currently on the teaching staff at NiaMoves Studio. Alan wholeheartedly believes, “Life is for the fun of it!” You can reach Alan at


A Supplement And Nutrition Reminder

A well-balanced diet and affinity for all food groups ensure right amounts of much-needed nutrients. However, not all people are blessed with a liking for vegetables or tolerance for milk. There are also people with allergies to nuts and poultry which are excellent sources of protein and good fat. What if you are one of them? How can you be sure that you get proper nutrition without force-feeding yourself brocollis? This is why supplements and nutrition should work together.


Before taking supplements, it would be wise to seek your doctor's advice. After all, you want to be sure to have the proper supplements and nutrition. The wide variety of supplements include multivitamins, protein supplements, minerals, and specialized supplements. Multivitamins are the most prescribed supplements. Regulated and concentrated amounts of essential vitamins are packed in a tablet or gels. Protein supplements are commonly used by people who want to build more muscle such as athletes. Mineral supplements include calcium for bone growth. Dietary supplements and memory enhancers are commonly classified as specialized supplements.

Supplements and nutrition must be complementary. For example, a person who consumes large amounts of carrots and squash need not take a supplement of Vitamin A. This is because too much of Vitamin A can cause a yellow or orange tinge to the skin. Other overdoses on minerals and vitamins can even disrupt normal hormonal function. After all, even too much of a good thing can be hazardous to health.


Hence, a proper supplements and nutrition scheme must be discussed with the doctor in order to prevent overdoses or taking unnecessary supplements. The US FDA in recognition of the growing market and need for supplements has taken steps to regulate the production, dosage, and sanitation of supplements. This was done to ensure good-quality products. This move is also partly due to rising number of unprescribed supplement use among consumers. The agency also stressed the importance of informed use among supplement users. It is not enough to know the name of your supplements.


You should know what deficiency it corrects and how it works. Studies show that many use different supplements whereas tests done to them indicate only a minimal lack which can be corrected by a single kind. Also, despite the supplement rage, doctors and health experts still stand by natural correction of deficiencies by means of a proper diet. They suggest eating alternative sources of nutrients found in allergy-inducing foods. Hey, real food tastes better than capsules anyway.


For more valuable information on Supplements and Nutrition, please visit


Nutritional Support for ADHD


ADHD is a large problem in the US and the disorder can manifest itself in a number of ways, not all of them are obvious. Although there are a number of pharmaceutical options for sufferers, there are also many simple nutritional steps that can be taken to help remedy the situation. It is startling to know that 3 to 7 percent of children in the US suffer from ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This means it affects over 2 million children in America, that is, one in every class of 25 would have ADHD.


This condition is usually diagnosed in the pre-school and early school years. Children with these symptoms are unusually fidgety and restless. They may have problems paying attention in school, waiting in lines or taking turns. Some children may express this in their aggression. ADHD is usually diagnosed more in boys that girls, but that could be because girls tend to be quieter and less aggressive than boys. In girls it could manifest itself as talkativeness rather than aggression.


ADHD Definition

The U.S. Surgeon General has defined ADHD as a metabolic form of encephalopathy. The disease weakens the release and homeostasis of neurological chemicals, reducing the function of the limbic system. Other relevant research however points out that some part of the brain could be involved. These are the frontal lobes, their connections to the basal ganglia, the central aspects of the cerebellum and the middle or medial aspect of the frontal lobe.


ADHD into Adulthood

Four types of ADHD types have been recognized. These are the Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Type of ADHD (hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive) and ADHD Not Otherwise Specified. As a person gets older, the symptoms of ADHD could reduce, but many children diagnosed with ADHD retain this disorder into adulthood too. It is then known as Adult Attention-Deficit Disorder or AADD. In adults, it manifests itself in the need to be physically busy all time, excessive talking, interrupting others, risk taking, speaking out without regard to the consequences and even daydreaming.


Causes of ADHD

The research into the causes of ADHD has thrown up a number of issues. Primarily it seems that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in ADHD. Significantly, research has shown that many critical food deficiencies could cause the problem. These could be as varied as deficiency of essential omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, iron and even zinc.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 deficiency may lead to behavioral problems that are linked with ADHD. Some children with ADHD show other symptoms connected with Omega 3 deficiency, such as dry skin and hair, thirst and even frequent urination. A trial in supplementing Omega 3 in children with ADHD revealed some surprising results. Over a period of time, fish oil supplements were given to a group of children and a placebo to another set. The children with fish oil supplements showed remarkable improvements in attentiveness and other attributes. Academic results were much better with better scores in reading, spelling, mathematics and other skills. No such improvements were seen in children given the placebo. Thus Omega 3 rich supplements such as fish oil could be a solution to help children with ADHD. Some researchers feel babies who are breast-fed have a lower chance of developing ADHD later because it is rich in Omega 3.


Food and Environmental Allergies

Children with ADHD may also be more likely to suffer from food allergies. They could be losing vital vitamins, iron and even zinc because of their allergy to dairy products, wheat, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, eggs, chocolate, peanuts and artificial colors and preservatives. It has been seen that children with ADHD lose zinc when exposed to a food dye. In a study that eliminated these allergens in the diet of some children, the majority of the children showed lower levels of hyperactivity. Once these were added back to diet, the problems associated with ADHD once again returned.


Dietary Deficiencies

Research has also shown that iron levels are low in children suffering from ADHD. The children’s serum ferritin levels were measured to determine their iron status. It was seen that one-third of the ADHD children had a very low range of iron levels. It was noticed that the lower the iron levels, the higher the severity of the ADHD symptoms. The researchers concluded that low iron stores might explain some ADHD cases. Iron supplements could be given but proper testing is required before doing so, because excess iron stored in the body can cause several other problems.


Supplements of zinc and zinc sulphate have proved successful in small trials. But more results are awaited. However in the mean time, a good idea would be to remove additives from the diet along with all foods that the child could be allergic to. This could improve the absorption of natural zinc present in foods. Vitamin C could also be supplemented, because sometimes it is not easily absorbed from natural foods. However, once again it might be good idea to remove additives and allergy-causing foods from the diet. This would result in better Vitamin C absorption.


Drug Interactions

Most ADHD children are on some prescribed drug or the other. Should drug interactions with dietary supplements be a concern? Generally, mixing supplements at low levels with drugs does not produce side effects but it is worth checking with your doctor just in case. Most research indicates that a balanced diet rich in omega 3, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, free from toxins, would be beneficial to children suffering from ADHD.



1. Physiology and Behavior, 1996 9: 915-920
2. 59th annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Bellanti et al.
3. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, December 2004;158:1113-1115


Iris is a Canadian trained physician who has been involved in the nutritional world for over 15 years and has a major interest in traditional Chinese medicine. Iris currently works as a medical advisor to Mitamins, the custom made online supplements company.

Mitamins Health Directory Informative health information and custom nutrition formulas for a huge array of health concerns from Allergies to Osteoporosis.

Can Nutrition Help Slow Down the Aging Process?

We all age. That fact is inevitable. But a lot of the negative changes that take place in our bodies are not. As we age, we become more susceptible to such things as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and arthritis. However, medical research has shown that proper nutrition can slow down and even prevent many of these ailments.


Research suggests that a tiny drop (even1-2%) in body hydration can result in short-term memory problems, cause trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on a computer screen. When a work day feels long, and concentration is wavering - a walk to the water cooler and a drink may be all that’s required to get you back to peak performance. Try it for yourself.


It is estimated that nearly one half of all health problems in the elderly are directly related to poor nutrition. The elderly are by and large some of the most poorly nourished people. Some reasons for this are as you age your sense of taste and smell decreases, it is harder to chew, and you just don't feel hungry.


In some cases, financial reasons may affect the food choices made and it may be harder to get out and shop for food due to various physical factors. On top of this, as you get older your body may not be able to absorb some of the nutrition from food as well as it could when you were younger. In some cases a good multi-vitamin (preferably in liquid form) could help offset this. Your doctor can help you find one that's right for you.


Here are a few things that you can do to plan for better nutrition in your diet and a healthier life as you get older:

Plan out regular meals for each day and try to include vegetables in at least 2 of them every day. If you must snack, use fruits and vegetables rather than junk food like potato chips and candy. If you have problems chewing meat, try going with things like fish and ground meats. Also try to eat more soups as they can have plenty of nutrition in them and they are great choices if you are on a budget.

Make meals more interesting by inviting a friend to lunch or dinner once in a while. Sometimes it can get boring to always eat alone and having someone over can entice you to get more creative with meals than you might when eating alone.


One thing you can do to ensure that you'll be getting better nutrition is to make each plate colorful. Different color vegetables for example generally contain different nutrients so the idea here is, mix it up. Growing old may be inevitable but that doesn't mean you can't grow old gracefully and healthier and with a steady diet of proper nutrition, you can maintain better health well into your golden years.


Jim O'Neill gives you tons of valuable information on the subjects of weight loss, fitness, and nutrition to make it easy for you to live a healthy lifestyle. Sign up now for his free 7 part mini e-course at:


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